US embassy cable - 06TOKYO850

AVIAN INFLUENZA: JAPAN WEEKLY REPORT FEBRUARY 16

Identifier: 06TOKYO850
Wikileaks: View 06TOKYO850 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Tokyo
Created: 2006-02-16 07:50:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: TBIO KFLU KSTH ECON PREL SOCI WHO JA
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO9177
PP RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHPB
DE RUEHKO #0850/01 0470750
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 160750Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8738
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 4663
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 4733
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 7309
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 7749
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 5862
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 8187
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 000850 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR OES/IHA POWELL, SINGER AND FENDRICK 
DEPT FOR EAP/J 
USDA PASS TO APHIS 
HHS PASS TO CDC 
HHS FOR OGHA STEIGER, BHAT AND ELVANDER 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: TBIO, KFLU, KSTH, ECON, PREL, SOCI, WHO, JA 
SUBJECT: AVIAN INFLUENZA: JAPAN WEEKLY REPORT FEBRUARY 16 
 
REF: A. 05 STATE 153802 
B. TOKYO 729 AND PREVIOUS 
 
TOKYO 00000850  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
1. No human outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza (AI) were 
reported in Japan during the past week.  Consulate-General 
Sapporo contributed to this week's AI report. 
 
-- Chugai Planning Domestic Production of Tamiflu -- 
 
2. The Chugai Pharmaceutical Company has finalized plans to 
produce the antiviral drug Tamiflu in Japan, which it 
currently imports from its Swiss parent Roche AG, according 
to company sources.  The company will build new production 
lines at its plant in Fujieda, Shizuoka Prefecture, with 
the aim of beginning to supply the market in about three 
years.  Chugai decided that domestic production would help 
ensure a stable supply of the drug in case of a possible 
pandemic outbreak.  The Ministry of Health, Labor and 
Welfare (MHLW) also asked Chugai to work towards domestic 
production.  The company will initially produce the liquid 
formulation of Tamiflu, which is designed for pediatric 
treatment.  Chugai plans to look at whether domestic 
production of the capsule form of Tamiflu is also possible 
after examining the profitability of the liquid 
formulation. 
 
-- Crazy with the Flu? -- 
 
3. A Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare study group will 
investigate the frequency of children infected by influenza 
displaying abnormal behaviors, consciousness disorders, and 
convulsions.  The group led by Professor Shunpei Yokota of 
Yokohama City University will also discuss the side effects 
of Tamiflu, which some have alleged causes abnormal 
behaviors and even death in individuals taking the drug. 
 
-- Influenza Preparations in Hokkaido -- 
 
4. On December 13, 2005, the Hokkaido government organized 
a meeting on measures to manage the risk associated with 
infectious diseases.  Hokkaido government representatives 
met with medical associations and institutions and central 
government delegates.  The purpose of the meeting was to 
exchange information and arrive at a common understanding 
of the risks associated with avian Influenza and other new 
types of influenza.  The attendees also discussed possible 
countermeasures and required procedures.  They decided to 
develop a countermeasure action plan by the end of 2005. 
This plan was approved at a subsequent meeting on December 
26.  The plan is now posted on the Hokkaido Government 
Department of Health & Welfare web page. 
 
5. Sapporo, the northern island's largest city and capital, 
does not yet have a designated hospital that has negative 
pressure rooms to isolate pandemic influenza patients.  The 
closest hospital is located in Fukagawa, approximately 1.5 
hours away from the city.  There are a total of six 
designated hospitals throughout Hokkaido that have negative 
pressure rooms.  According to Mr. Yamaguchi of the Disease 
Control Division of the Hokkaido Government, the City of 
Sapporo plans to establish several negative pressure rooms 
at the Sapporo Municipal Hospital by 2007.  The Sapporo 
Medical University hospital currently has negative pressure 
rooms normally reserved for tuberculosis treatment, and the 
city is now negotiating with the hospital to be able to use 
these rooms in case of pandemic influenza outbreak. 
 
6. The website of the Hokkaido Department of Health and 
Welfare has information available to the general public 
explaining the novel types of influenza and the above- 
mentioned action plan.  Though information is only 
available in Japanese, local officials plan to translate 
this information into English, Chinese and possibly Korean, 
to provide information to the island's foreign residents. 
 
-- Embassy Outreach -- 
 
7. On February 13, the Tokyo American Center held a program 
 
TOKYO 00000850  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
entitled "Preparing for and Coping with a Pandemic: The 
Avian Flu Threat" that featured the Center for Strategic 
and International Studies (CSIS) Homeland Security Program 
director David Heyman.  ESToff provided USG commentary and 
updated an audience of more than forty government officials 
including from MHLW and the National Institute of 
Infectious Diseases (NIID) on the current status of the 
United States' Implementation Plan for the National 
Strategy for Pandemic Influenza.  A lively discussion 
followed that touched on a variety of issues including exit 
strategies for pandemic plans, the importance of 
containment strategies, and the need for transparency in 
reporting AI outbreaks.  Dr. Nobuhiko Okabe, Director of 
NIID's Infectious Diseases Surveillance Center, who played 
the role of moderator during the program, explained to the 
audience that it is important for Japan to step-up its 
efforts in preparing for a possible pandemic by including a 
broad spectrum of society members in the planning. 
 
SCHIEFFER 

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